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White House Could Use AT&T/Time Warner Deal As 'Leverage' Against CNN (arstechnica.com) 302

An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via Ars Technica: AT&T seems to be on track to close its purchase of Time Warner Inc., but President Donald Trump's hatred of Time Warner property CNN could still be a "wild card" in the deal. Trump's feud with CNN was described yesterday in a New York Times article titled "The Network Against the Leader of the Free World." Within that article is one tidbit that could affect AT&T's proposed $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner, which owns CNN and other media properties such as HBO and Turner Broadcasting System: "White House advisers have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary, a senior administration official said: a pending merger between CNN's parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T. Mr. Trump's Justice Department will decide whether to approve the merger, and while analysts say there is little to stop the deal from moving forward, the president's animus toward CNN remains a wild card."

Separately, The Daily Caller wrote today that Trump doesn't want the merger to be approved unless CNN President Jeff Zucker is fired. The conservative news website attributed the information to "a source familiar with President Trump's thinking." Zucker told the New York Times that the pending merger has not affected his journalistic or management decisions.

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White House Could Use AT&T/Time Warner Deal As 'Leverage' Against CNN

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  • s/Trump/Obama/g (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bigbutt ( 65939 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @08:09AM (#54762901) Homepage Journal

    I'm always interested in the opinions of folks if any article, regardless of the media source, replaced Trump with Obama in the article.

    [John]

    • As in "(fill in the blank) refused to take questions from (insert media outlet here) at his latest press conference"?

      That would be interesting. Dates and times for extra credit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by aicrules ( 819392 )
      If CNN/NY Times had levied this level of attack to Obama, I would be citing those stories as proof that they aren't biased, just hollow brained. They are supposed to be a world class news agency, yet they continue to publish unverified stories that can't even be followed up on to fact check. It's honestly like they are trying to self destruct because eventually this shit will catch up with them. It already has in some areas...they just don't seem to care enough to change....oh wait..maybe the hint is i
    • Re:s/Trump/Obama/g (Score:5, Informative)

      by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday July 07, 2017 @09:22AM (#54763389) Homepage Journal

      I'm always interested in the opinions of folks if any article, regardless of the media source, replaced Trump with Obama in the article.

      [John]

      I'm no fan of Obama, but I don't think he ever did anything remotely similar to this, (allegedly) threatening to kill a merger unless a news network stops criticizing him. The most he ever did was threaten to exclude Fox from the press pool at an event (and then backed down).

    • I still think it's hilarious that FoxNews refused to refer to Obama as "President". Most (if not all) reporting during his first term called him "Mr. Obama".

      • I still think it's hilarious that FoxNews refused to refer to Obama as "President". Most (if not all) reporting during his first term called him "Mr. Obama".

        Then you don't remember very well. Other media outlets stood up for Fox. Fox returned the favor recently under the new administration.
        Whether you think that's because they have integrity or they just fear being locked out by the next guy is up to you.

        The "Mr. Obama" stuff was done on day 1, sure. But it was a direct response to the "Mr. Bush" stuff that was prevalent for 8 years. It's a rejection of the President. I don't recall this being a big thing during Clinton's reign. Perhaps the media was more

    • Re:s/Trump/Obama/g (Score:4, Insightful)

      by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @10:25AM (#54763831)

      I'm always interested in the opinions of folks if any article, regardless of the media source, replaced Trump with Obama in the article.

      [John]

      If Obama had threatened regulatory action against Fox unless Fox News ditched Roger Ailes or some pundit then it would rightfully be a major political scandal.

      I don't think it would quite reach the level of impeachment, but it would easily have been the worst thing Obama did as a President.

    • There's too much difference in context there. More interesting would be to change Trump's party and imagine what the response would be.
  • Too many mergers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tmshort ( 1097127 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @08:10AM (#54762907)

    While I am against the AT&T/Time-Warner merger (and was also against the Comcast/NBC-Universal merger), I think this goes too far. The Press is part of the checks and balances of the government. There have been lots of bad press against all former Presidents, but the President didn't use his powers against them like this. This blatantly violates the First Amendment.https://yro.slashdot.org/story/17/07/06/2255213/white-house-could-use-atttime-warner-deal-as-leverage-against-cnn#

    • "The Press is part of the checks and balances of the government. "

      Not so much any more, and that's the problem.

      • Trump has actually been good for the press. Starting with Reagan, the press has been mostly subservient to the White House. Even more so since the Iraq War, since in order to be "embedded", you had to be in the Administration's good graces.

        By declaring war on those who report him in less than flattering terms, Trump has re-kindled the role of the press as critic.

    • LMOL nothing is stopping from CNN to *ahem* report the news. Mergers and Acquisitions are not covered under Free Speech. Moron.
      • by thaylin ( 555395 )

        unless you are trying to stifle free speech by using the merger.

        • I think much of this will rest on any statements Trump or his administration actually make on this merger. It's been clearly shown in multiple court decisions that the actual "intent" of the Administration's decisions matter quite a bit. When Trump's surrogates repeatedly said "Muslim ban", even during the campaigning time, this came back to bite them no matter what they claimed later.

          However, as far as I know, there has been no actual communications from the Executive branch on this merger recently outs
    • By and large you are on point, but it's naive to believe this is the 1st time a sitting President has wielded power to his benefit over adversaries in the 4th estate.
  • Bad News (Score:5, Funny)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @08:11AM (#54762913)

    Since the overturn of Citizens United, I'm really worried about corporations' well-being. AT&T only has a market cap of $222.95 billion, and little 'ol Time Warner is only worth $78.66 billion. How are they going to look out for their own interests in the same way that a real life citizen making $40k/year would?

  • Made up? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unixcorn ( 120825 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @08:17AM (#54762945)

    Whether it's CNN or any other news organization, does it bother others when you read shit like this;
    "The conservative news website attributed the information to "a source familiar with President Trump's thinking."
    I AM conservative and I call bullshit on printing hearsay like this. Come on media, print what he says, not what others think he his thinking is like.

    • At least we can be sure the source isn't the President....
    • Come on media, print what he says, not what others think he his thinking is like.

      Perhaps if he stopped whining about talk show's being mean to him and continually lying about winning the popular vote, printing what he says would be worthwhile.

    • Yes, fake sources used as the sole impetus for such incendiary claims bother me greatly. I can write game changing articles citing anonymous sources with vague bona fides too, and it would be just as real as these articles.
  • Daily Caller cites an article from Bloomberg [bloomberg.com].

    Trump told a friend in the last few weeks that he still considers the merger to be a bad deal, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the conversation was private.

    The basis of article is an anonymous source. I can't belive anything an unknown source say in these times of 'fake news'. I need solid facts.

  • Balance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JBMcB ( 73720 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @08:40AM (#54763111)

    On the one hand, Trump is a bit of a cry-bully and CNN can say anything they want.

    On the other, when an "unnamed source" says that Trump said something mean to someone in the oval office and CNN covers it for five hours straight, you tend to wonder what the hell is going on. There's some crazy deal going on with Qatar that's just a *bit* more important, why aren't they covering that more?

    • On the other, when an "unnamed source" says that Trump said something mean to someone in the oval office and CNN covers it for five hours straight, you tend to wonder what the hell is going on. There's some crazy deal going on with Qatar that's just a *bit* more important, why aren't they covering that more?

      Narcissism.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      The same conservatives who complain about CNN's shenanigans have ignored similar crap from Fox News.

      Cable news in general is crap: their MO is to get the audience frothed up so that they come back for more froth. That's how they can sell more ad eyeballs. They all should be spanked.
         

      • The same conservatives who complain about CNN's shenanigans have ignored similar crap from Fox News.

        ..and what of the non-conservatives that are complaining? What sort of wide-swath bullshit wave-away do you have to "invalidate" them?

        Exactly how many people are you going to throw under the bus defending CNN?

  • Sure, Trump may have groused to several of the people who he works with--but for this to be made a condition of the sale would open a huge legal can of worms.

    Which is why I would take a wait and see attitude here. My guess is it won't happen: the Trump Administration won't meddle with the inner workings of CNN as a condition of the sale.

    On the flip side, if the Trump Administration does do this, pop some popcorn and watch the feathers fly! Because this would guarantee that the anti-trust regulations and the

  • Okay, while the merger I am not in favor of, using this as leverage by the government is basically manipulating the press which the government is not supposed to (okay, we know they do it, we know they give "recommendations" on what to publish but not blatantly bullying the press). The "leader of the free world" is trying to lead us into "A Brave New World" that could bring us closer to "The Handmaid's Tale". . This is getting scary.
  • If that happens, this "person" who happens to be in the oval office will be committing an act of personal vengeance using the power of his office. That is UNACCEPTABLE. It is unethical and economically disastrous. What kind of business environment would we be fostering if companies could not rely on being treated fairly under the law?
    • If that happens, this "person" who happens to be in the oval office will be committing an act of personal vengeance using the power of his office.

      That is UNACCEPTABLE. It is unethical and economically disastrous.

      What kind of business environment would we be fostering if companies could not rely on being treated fairly under the law?

      There is no need for me to answer your rhetorical question because anyone who has read 20th-century history can answer that question. Easily.

      The answer is facile and fascinating, but I won't give any hints. . .

      • Well the answer to the question is "the kind of business environment we have now is the kind you get when companies cant rely on being treated fairly under the law."

        I dont see how that is facile tho, nor is it really fascinating.

        If businesses were treated fairly under the law, there wouldnt be nearly as much lobbying. New industries in America pay what is literally the highest tax rate in the world, and they continue to do so until they lobby federal and local governments for the same tax breaks and tax

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